A continuation of Guardian of the Banshee
It was like a dream for her as she moved about. Caught in a place that existed somewhere between reality and fantasy, asleep and awake. She knew she could not do the latter until her Binding Ritual was complete, but she also knew three days had passed.
Hers would be shorter than almost all who had come before her, at least that’s what she’d been told by the others. The Specters that came and went freely from within the mixture of flame and fog that surrounded her wherever she went.
Like a foggy morning upon the beach, before her, spreading out as far as she could see, amber and red colored waves of flame flowed like an ocean. Sitting directly above it, just as calm, was the fog, green in its color but ethereal in its ways. Both came forever towards her as she stood upon the shore.
Glancing down to the black colored sand, she knew it came from the mixture of the two. As each wave came up, the fog cooled it rapidly and tiny flecks of the flame broke off and remained behind. She had expected the countless billions of shards to be sharp against her bare feet. She was pleasently surprised to discover they were too small to do any harm. Acting instead like any other kind of sand, save perhaps feeling denser than any she could recall.
Looking back to the ocean and the fog the Specters, past queens themselves, continued to fly about. They had given her a new sense of purpose to her otherwise wrecked and turned upside down life. A life she was more than happy to let go, one in which she had lost everything and felt more alone then she thought possible. At most a moment’s thought went through her before she said yes, discovering she wanted what they asked from her with every fiber of her being.
For her it felt right, natural, as if she was meant to be what they asked her to be, their Queen of the Banshee. Protector of what was known to them as the Middle World. One of three realms connected and protected by the Celtic Fire, thus her decision within it had been easily made.
A smile came to her as she felt the Fire respond to her thoughts, wrapping her up in its warm embrace, promising protection just like her Guardian. The Celtic Fire and her Guardian, one simply a physical incarnation of the other, allowed free will and a life of his own, were forever linked to her. It would always be that way unless she chose to relinquish her title and throne or she was killed.
Her last thought brought forth a dormant and powerful rage from within the Fire. She felt it stir within her as the Specters, feeling it too, flew about in distress. All of them shared hatred towards the source of this feeling. All knowing to well that it had been done many times before, by one who had once sworn to protect queens, but then had betrayed them, breaking that sacred pact between Guardian and Queen.
-The Fallen Guardian-
The idea of a Guardian striking down a queen had never been thought of before. A Guardian doing such an atrocious act was unimaginable, until him. How many had he slain, how many had he converted to his Dark Banshee. No one knew the true number, though in truth they were afraid to know.
The Fallen Guardian had proven to be more than a force to be reckoned with. Always gaining the upper hand in the constant struggle between he and his brother. So much in fact it had taken her own Guardian breaking one of the most coveted vows of the Guardians code to save her.
-A Guardian does not interfere with a
Queens’s choice, she alone must choose-
But Aidan had done so, telling her many years ago that when a man asked her to say his name, she should say his instead. Doing so had saved her and brought her here to the Celtic Fire and in reality, to her destiny.
As her thoughts focused on her chosen Guardian, the Celtic Fire and Specters responded, their anger and rage subsiding. Of the two Guardians who had been created to protect the Queen of the Banshee, to protect her, it was Aidan who had always been the embodiment of what that meant.
Lasair, once honorable and considered the better of the two, had never lived up to the same level as his younger brother. He had allowed his ego to get in the way more and more, which from what she had been shown, ultimately led to his downfall. A downfall she had yet to fully understand as it was never fully revealed to her.
She knew only that Lasair killed a queen, and in doing so created the first Dark Banshee. But beyond that nothing more had been divulged. It would be in time she had been promised and for now she accepted that.
Once the rage and anger dissipated, the Celtic Fire’s excitement began to take over, its anticipation of what was to come on Samhain evident. For too long had its middle realm throne sat unoccupied. But soon all three realms would be once again in balance.
-It is almost time, Queen Lynette. Soon you will awaken from your Binding and take your place upon the Throne of Souls. The Celtic Fire can barely wait-
“I can feel.”
-Are you prepared for what is to come-
-Do you understand to what ends Lasair will go to keep you from doing so-
-Do you trust in your chosen Guardian-
“With my very life.”
-Then prepare to wake, our queen, and embrace your destiny. Be reborn through the Celtic Fire and take your place amongst those that protect this world.-
The ocean of flames suddenly surged towards her, surrounding her in a wide circle as the Specters gathered around. Their gazes locked onto her, each of their eyes burning with the same intense colors of the oceanic flames.
Slowly the fire rose, creating a wall and separating her from the others. All around her the flames licked back and forth, leapt in every direction, but she was not afraid. The Celtic Fire, like her Guardian, would never intentionally harm her. This was the final stage of the Binding Ritual. She needed to be reborn through the Celtic Fire into her realm, forever joining them together.
Once she was there her Guardian, Aidan, would be waiting for her and together they would begin their path. A path that would see the Middle World back in alignment with the other two worlds, the Over and Under as they were respectively called.
She was thinking upon this when suddenly something did not feel right. The Celtic Fire reacted differently to something. Something it could not understand yet somehow knew.
She was still trying to discern the meaning of it when in the blink of an eye the rage from earlier returned with a vengeance. Sweeping over her and the Specters like a flood, all their thoughts and feelings linked together.
Like before the source remained the same, but how could that be? What had driven the Celtic Fire to react in such a way, here within itself? A moment later she had her answer as a familiar and hated voice came through, as though it was one of the Specters.
Fear gripped her as she heard the word. She knew it, had heard it, and had loathed hearing it. The voice belonged to the one who had tried to kill her on a back highway in
. It belonged to
the one that had betrayed them all, the bringer of the Dark Banshee, it was
At once she knew this could not be, it was impossible. He of all creatures could not be here within the Binding Ritual. She was within the most hallowed circle of the Celtic Fire, its very heart. A place where only queens could tread, anyone else, including a Guardian would perish. As if to prove her wrong his voice echoed in her head.
-Come now Lass, there is no need to hide from me-
An uneasy feeling came over her while she looked at the curtain of flames. The distinct feeling that he was there just beyond them, peering directly in at her sent a chill up her spine. She swore she could almost see his eyes, so full of that twisted glee she had already come to hate, piercing through to her.
The word was barely spoken before a hand snaked its way through the flames in front of her. Her eyes went wide as she backed away, still trying to comprehend how this was possible. Finding a way into the Celtic Fire was one thing, but being able to survive touching the very heart of the Celtic Fire was incomprehensible.
The heart was supposed to be a queen’s last bastion. Her last defense if all else failed her. It was where no matter what she would be safe. Yet here he was proving otherwise, watching as the hand before her grasped at the air a few times before withdrawing from the circle.
Gazing at the spot it had vanished from she waited for it to return, all but positive it would. When it did not her eyes darted from side to side, trying to seek it out, while she backed further up, putting herself further away from where it had appeared. A second later something grabbed her from behind.
Barely having time to register the touch a painfully sharp chill tore through her, all but freezing her where she was. The sensation was the same as when Aidan had touched her for the first time, coursing through every part of her insides at once. But where Aidan’s touch had been warm and inviting, this was cold and full of suffering.
She felt every movement of it as it seeped through her like a thick oil. Slowly making its way to her heart as every sensation caused a new wave of revulsion in her. She felt it reach her heart where it went numb, as if suddenly encased in a block of ice. The numbing sensation began to spread through her body, making her shiver despite being within the flames. A moment later she became aware of her own breath before her as her breathing turned to quick panting.
Like with Aidan images flashed before her, but these were sorrowful. Memories full of betrayal and hatred overtook her, each one bringing with it a new level of unimaginable pain frm within, forcing her to her knees.
She saw past queens that had died or been converted at Lasair’s hands.
who had listened to Lasair, put their trust in him, like she almost had, being
tricked into choosing him as their Guardian. Only to find out afterwards the
terrible mistake they had made.
Tears flowed from her eyes as the gut wrenching scenes of these women continued to pass before her. All of them begging and pleading for him to spare them, to spare their life, some offering to do anything he wanted in return. His response was always the same, taking great joy in making each one he dealt with suffer more than the one before. Insisting that each time he cornered a new one of them, he could heighten their pain even more.
He knew full well what he was doing and worse, she could feel that he enjoyed every second of it. In those moments they were joined she came to see the immense level of hatred he held towards queens.
Then the memories of the transformations began, all of them filled with just as much anguish and torment. The excruciating feelings of these women having their souls all but ripped apart at his very hands echoed through her. Torn apart until all that remained was but a shell of who they once were.
As the memories continued she felt herself slipping away, becoming lost to their despair. She became scared and angry all at once, afraid she would become like those other queens, become as they were. Desperately she called out to the Specters, to the Celtic Fire itself, but even as she did she only heard Lasair’s response.
-They cannot help you Lass. I am as much a part of them as you are. Joined to the Celtic Fire as only a queen can be-
“That is not possible, Fallen One.”
-So you know of me now, do you Lass. I Figured as much. And as impossible as it may be, here I am none the less. Though I will admit I had to utilize many of my Dark Banshee to get here, and I assure you it was well worth their sacrifice to do so-
“Even now you would use and destroy those you converted, those you once sought to protect, for what? To see me, to kill me, how far you have fallen indeed, Guardian?”
-I would do so to deliver a message, Lass-
“A message?” her own outrage hitting new heights. “You would destroy my sisters for a mere message?”
Kneeling there she felt herself starting to slip further away. Already she could no longer feel her arms or legs, and as the feeling from her torso began to fade she wondered if this was the end.
-Be at ease Lass. I cannot kill you in here, but I can make my presence known-
Sharp pains, like a hundred needles all at once, suddenly jabbed at her heart before stopping just as quickly. Barely had she recovered when a second later the sensation returned, then stopped again. Several more times the pain came and went and as it did a wave of helplessness began to fill her. An image of her Guardian ran through her mind, replaced rapidly by another volley of pain.
When it was gone something new appeared within her, something small and deep down. Barely big enough for her to notice, but enough that it drew her attention, made her focus in on it. It was warmth, tiny, but there nonetheless, warding off the cold in its little corner.
Concentrating on it she clung to it, needing the warmth it offered as it rose up to meet her. It continued up until it met her heart and surrounded it, blocking away the cold. She felt Lasair respond to it as well, his grip loosening as he tried to understand what it was.
-What have we here-
All at once the warmth surged through her body, instantly taking it back over and driving the rest of the cold out. Once she was back in control of herself her head fell back and a scream, loud and powerful, burst forth from her.
Lasair’s hand released itself as if on fire, his pain filled scream filling her head.
Her scream lasted for many long seconds until she felt beyond drained. Like every bit of energy she possessed was gone. When she stopped she fell forward on to her hands, her body trembling violently as she gulped for air.
Recognizing she was still in danger she tried to crawl away, to put as much space between her and Lasair as possible. But it was beyond her at this point and in the process of doing so she ended up falling on her belly. With the last of her strength she rolled herself to her back.
Still trying to figure out what had happened she saw Lasair clutching his ears and shaking his head vigorously back and forth. His body was engulfed in blue and green flame, a stark contrast to the amber and red that burned behind him.
Turning in her direction she saw his eyes, unable to hide the amount of anger he felt. No doubt if they were anywhere else she would be dead. Lowering his hands to his side he stayed where he stood, the experience of whatever it was that just happened still fresh in his mind.
-I see you have learned the
Queens Scream, Lass. I have always wondered if it was
real or not-
He paused as his unforgettable twisted smile came to his face.
-When the time comes I will enjoy making you one of my Dark Banshee. I will enjoy every second of tearing apart your sweet body and soul. I will relish in it like I have not in ages, even more so when I make my brother watch me do it. Deriving the utmost pleasure from your wails of pain, perhaps even unlocking the secret of the Queens Scream-
Breathing heavily she was confused about what he was talking about.
-Don’t feel like talking, your Ladyship-
His eyes narrowed in thought.
-Or did the
Scream take that much out of you-
When she did not answer, his smile got smugger.
-That’s interesting. Here I came to simply deliver a message, and yet I have learned so much more-
He began to walk towards her, slowly.
-Tell me Lass. Where is your Guardian now? Where is the one you chose-
Something overtook her bringing on a new sense of weakness as he kept advancing. Something began to pull her somewhere, but she could not figure out why or to where. At least until he provided the information, kneeling directly before her.
-I see our time grows short Lass. The Celtic Fire has finally finished preparing you for your rebirth. Oh it is a very special occasion, Lass. Trust me, I know. So please allow me to deliver my message-
She watched as all the humor and sarcasm fell from his face, replaced with evil and determination.
-I want you, and my brother, to know, that there is no place you can go, that I will not find you. And the next time we meet, will be the last-
She had just enough time to blink before he lunged at her.